The National Football Foundation announced on Thursday that the late Bob Barry, Sr., will receive the organization’s Chris Schenkel Award.
First presented in 1996, the Chris Schenkel Award seeks to recognize a sports broadcaster who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career broadcasting college football with direct ties to a specific university.
“For more than five decades, Bob Barry played an integral role in the fabric of football in the state of Oklahoma,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “He possessed an unmatched passion for his job, and he captured the drama and excitement of the game for legions of fans for generations. Bob was truly one of the happiest men in college football.”
Barry, a 50-year broadcasting veteran and longtime Norman resident, died on Oct. 30, 2011, at the age of 80. Barry graduated from OU and served in the U.S. Air Force. His broadcasting career began in 1956 at KNOR, where he provided play-by-play for high school games featuring the sons of OU coach Bud Wilkinson. Impressed with the young broadcaster’s work, Wilkinson asked Barry to audition for the Sooners’ radio play-by-play job. He landed the job, and he began calling OU games on the radio in 1961, a role he filled until 1972.
Barry shifted upstate in 1972, calling Tulsa games on radio from 1973-74. He then worked as the Oklahoma State play-by-play voice, lasting in Stillwater from 1973-1990. Barry completed his tour of the state when he returned to Norman to call Sooners games from 1991 until his retirement in 2010.
In addition to his play-by-play calling duties, he was hired to work in the sports department at WKY-TV (now KFOR-TV) in Oklahoma City in 1961. He served as the sports director at the station for 26 years until he was succeeded by his son, Bob Barry, Jr., in 1998. He continued to file reports at KFOR until his retirement in 2008.